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This weekend, Anette and I decided make an excursion to a large tapki lake that I had noticed while passing by on the bus a few days later.

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Left to right: Ronja, Ecco, Daya & Sheba

Team Sheba (as in Sheba and her three daughters Daya, Ecco and Ronja) were happy to accompany us!

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Of the four, only Sheba had traveled by car before, but the three yearlings quickly settled down next to their mother and slept most of the drive.

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We arrived at the village of Babul some thirty minutes later and the villagers were happy to show us which track to take that would lead us to the lake.

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As soon as people got too close to the car, Ecco and her sisters starting guarding, letting the world know that this car was fully occupied and well protected! (Sheba on the other hand kept telling me that the trunk was spacier without having to share it with anyone…).

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We took the track advised by the village chief, and drove through the village.

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Soon, the lake emerged – a tapki (seasonal lake) which still holds water now that we approach the end of the agricultural year.

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Once we had parked, a group of young men made sure to walk as closely by as possible, until they discovered the dogs inside.

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And once the dogs were let out of the car,

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…the young teenagers grapped their pants and ran!

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Team Sheba however were not interested in chasing people, but headed straight for the “sea” (such large masses of water are rare in this part of the world)!

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There was a time when Sheba’s daughters did not share her love for water, but now, only Ecco remains the slightly skeptical one.

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The scenery was beautiful and the view quite different from the Zinder bush that we are used to. One day, I will want to go back… on horseback!

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Having not had the opportunity to discover new places during the past year, Anette and I were both thrilled to be go see a place where neither of us had ever been before!

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And to think this place was only 40km away!

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The dogs loved it and set about exploring immediately.

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To give the youngsters reason to exercise, Anette and I took turn in taking off – an act that ensured immediate response!

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Sheba used to be the fastest but now that her daughters are fully grown, she is often outdone by her eldest daugher Daya.

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Group meeting! :-)

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The pups had the time of their life, and kept enjoying themselves. They kept running and exploring, but nobody took off.

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Sensing no emergency, Sheba strolled about at a different (more mature…) pace,

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…while her daughters responded with passion every time Anette whistled an invitation!

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But wherever I went, Sheba followed-

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…for since I got back to Niger, Sheba has not wanted to leave my side! The bond is mutual and I am so happy to have my (not so) little God’s gift by my side again!

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Luckily for the rest of the flock, there is always room in an Ishtar world for more. Ronja is one is often comes knocking at our door, stating that Sheba gets far too much attention and that I could at least be sparing one hand to give her an ear scratch…

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Ronja however is the lucky owner of her very own human heart: namely Anette’s!

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The grounds were perfect for a hike,

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…and Anette and I kept saying to each other that had we lived in this village all year round, we would started every day with a jog around the water beds.

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As the sun was setting, we didn’t have time to stroll around the entire lake (which was quite huge!), but settled for the southern part.

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Sheba made sure to take a lovely mud bath,

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…while her daughter Ronja discovered the full potential of dried mud…

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… as the perfect back rubber!

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Her behaviour appeared so odd to the other dogs that they had to come over and check. First up was Ecco,

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… but then came a concerned Sheba…

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…who could not understand what kind of bug had bitten her!

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But while Ronja continued hugging the mud in various positions, Sheba looked over towards the humans (who seemed quite tranquil about the situation) and decided all had to be well.

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When the time came to turn back home,

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…we asked ourselves which dog had enjoyed the outing the most.

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Although all of them had had a wonderful time,

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…both Anette and I concluded that the one who enjoyed herself the most had to be Daya!

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All that running and bathing certainly made her day!

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Our two hours were well spent at the Babul Lake, which we will have to go back visiting within short!

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We drove home in the dark and brought our stimulated canines home in time for supper. Hope you enjoyed the outings much as we did!

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Babul Lake from Google Earth

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